November 2011

Wednesday 30th November 2011
I know a lot of owners of modified cars, build their cars to very high standards, yet it always intrigues me as to why they're not used in competitive motorsports in the UK. A group of competitors on are interested in the reasons why owners of modified cars do not venture out on to the hills with them, in what is traditionally one of the safest and most rewarding forms of motorsport in the country.

A lot of discussion surrounds the class structures, complexity of the rules, and costs, and we'd like to get to the root cause of the dwindling numbers of competitors who do venture out. We only see the problem from the inside out, and it would be advantageous to see the problem from those who are kept away by whatever reason.

If you could take a couple of minutes to complete the following survey, it would be appreciated. The results will be analysed and published in the new year.

It is an anonymous survey, which only takes a couple of minutes to complete, and you may leave your name and email if you wish to receive further updates and surveys in the future. If you have a few minutes spare, please click this link

Edit: The questionnaire may now be accessed simply by visiting which is a lot easier to remember :D

Thursday 17th November 2011
Did you know that fitting a private registration plate to your car may increase your insurance premium? Thats what I found out today. Having spent £80 on the V317, £40 on four new number plates, I then had to pay £17.50 to Elephant to change the Audi registration, and £25 to the RAC for the Subaru, to then be told that there was an additional premium increase for the Subaru, simply because it now had a private plate on it. What a liberty!

After some 'negotiation' on the phone, they dropped the increase, for this year. But I bet next year that the premium is still increased, though of course I would have no way of knowing, unless I asked at the time of renewal.

Midland Speed Championship are running a new Saloon Libre class next year. This is an initial step to try to entice more engine swapped cars in to the sport of speed hillclimbing and sprinting, and a move that I welcome. I still dont want to be lumped together with space framed fibre glass bodied racing cars, (eg 6R4's or RS200's) but at least it should bring out the Tintops with swapped engines. I'm intending to get back out again in 2012, and was planning on trying ModProd for a change, but this could be a very positive move, and time will tell if its a step in the right direction.

Sports Libre numbers have dwindled drastically over the years, and the sport needs new blood to survive. Hundreds of people run modified road cars, with swapped engines, and we need to entice them away from Track days, in to competitive motorsport. Look at how successful the Retro Rides gathering was at Prescott this year. I read somewhere that they completed something like 800 runs up the hill on the Sunday, and I'm sure that most of the people who took part, would be willing to stick a crash helmet on and have a go at a sanctioned, organised, speed event. What would they have to loose?
Tuesday 15th November 2011
The website has undergone various changes over the past few weeks. The longer articles have been split over 3 or 4 pages, with a Related Pages section at the bottom of each page, to allow visitors to navigate through the articles more easily. Nothing worse than landing on a page that takes an age to load, and involves wading through reams of information to find what you are looking for.

Speaking of looking for information, I've also improved the search facility (top right of the page above the menu links), as well as providing a +1 button and a Facebook Like button (over on the left). The site has getting on for 230,000 words across 220 pages, and there's a lot of information available on tuning and modifying Fiestas, so I'm hoping the popularity of the site will continue to grow, as I continue adding information to it.

One thing I'm quite passionate about at the moment, is the Fair Fuel UK campaign, to bring the price of fuel at the pumps in the UK, down to a level that people can afford to pay. Its high time that government stopped forcing buyers of petrol and diesel to dig this country out of recession. Instead they need to liberate people to use their vehicles to travel, rather than tax them to the point that they cant afford to even drive to see their relatives.

The Fair Fuel UK website

Please visit the site, join the campaign, sign the petition, and together we can put pressure on the government not just to scrap the planned increases next year, but to reduce the duty we pay now to bring the price of fuel down.
Friday 4th November 2011
Not a great deal of progress on the Fiesta since the last update. To be honest, there's not much to do to it anyway, but my focus in October has been getting the Subaru through its first MOT, a very expensive 48,000 mile service (£530), a new set of tyres (£430), and taxing and insuring the car (£430) for the next twelve months, as well as making the final £5454 balloon payment which legally makes the car mine to sell or keep. I am transferring the cherised plate off the Audi A6 on to the Subaru this month, as the Audi is due to be replaced shortly with a smaller, more economical car.

So with all that expense out of the way, I'm concerned about just what I'm going to do with the Fiesta next year. Fuel costs and other things are getting out of hand now, and the new job I started in August doesn't pay as well as the contracting role I left behind, so we're squeezing belts and trying to make ends meet at the moment.

For 2012 I want to continue hillclimbing and sprinting, and am moving in to Mod Prod for the first time. Sports Libre is too lonely nowadays, with just myself registered in the class in the Midland Speed Championship this year. I'm looking for fresh competition to better myself as a driver, and to continue to develop the car. So I'm quite looking forwards to the challenges that Mod Prod brings, but I'm definitely going to have to locate a sponsor to pay for the travel to/from the events, as what little spare money I have, I can ill afford to spend it on entry fees and travel costs.

On the Mk2 Escort, my Dad has now fitted electric power steering, a kit supplied by Matt Downing, and the results are quite satisfactory. The steering is still heavy, and the strut tops need to be dismantled, as the struts themselves dont want to turn, so we have a theory that they're not assembled correctly. The brake master cylinder has also been replaced, with a new item, and the brakes are finally working correctly. The latest issue is that the water temperature drops when the car is moving, and despite the thermostat testing out ok in a pan of boiling water, we suspect that the heater in the car is drawing too much water away from the engine, so there's more work to do in that area.

On the website front, I've created a new set of favicons, including an apple-touch icon, so if you create a shortcut to the zetecinside website on an ipad/iphone or an htc phone, you get a nice looking hires zi icon.